Motorcycle fatalities up in Colorado

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CDOT's motorcycle safety Web site and more information about safety training courses can be found at www.comotorcycles...

— While the number of motorcycle licenses issued in Colorado is increasing, motorcycle-related fatalities are increasing at a faster rate, prompting the Colorado Department of Transportation to launch its new Live to Ride safety program.

The 90 Coloradans killed in motorcycle crashes in 2007 marked an all-time high for the state. In the past five years, 402 people have been killed in motorcycle accidents statewide, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation.

Fatalities were most heavily concentrated in Denver, El Paso and Adams counties in 2007.

"It's because there's more population here, and many people from the rest of the state buy their bikes here," CDOT spokeswoman Toni Gatzen said of the metro area.

Routt County had no motorcycle fatalities between 2003 and 2007, and 2008 has been clear of serious motorcycle accidents as well. But that doesn't mean riders have not been seriously injured in Routt County, or that Northwest Colorado is not facing motorcycle safety problems of its own, Gatzen said.

Colorado State Patrol Sgt. Scott Elliott said only about a dozen bikers in the area ride in the winter. He warned that motorcycle accidents and instances of people not wearing helmets and other safety problems could creep up as the weather continues to get warmer.

According to CDOT statistics, 40 percent of motorcycle fatalities since 2003 were alcohol-related. Eighty-one percent of victims were either not wearing helmets or using helmets improperly.

One of the aims of CDOT's Live to Ride program is to encourage new and experienced riders to take a CDOT-administered Motorcycle Operator Safety Training course. Successful completion of the course can result in an insurance discount of 10 to 15 percent for motorcycle operators, CDOT officials said.

Courses taught by certified operators are not currently offered in Northwest Colorado. The nearest teaching sites for full courses are Glenwood Springs and Rifle.

- To reach Melinda Dudley, call 871-4203

or e-mail mdudley@steamboatpilot.com

Comments

MtnWarlock 6 years, 8 months ago

Correction, Craig school was private. Sorry! Type-O.

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OnTheBusGus 6 years, 8 months ago

As more baby boomers buy motorcycles (some for the first time in their lives) we have more inexperienced riders out there. The increase in motorcyclists is due to these older riders as well as the increases in accidents. Everyone who rides could benefit from a safety course but it is also true that drivers need to be made more aware of cyclists on the road. I ride and I have taken several levels of safety courses as well as a lot of track time. I think that if I get in an accident, more than likely it would be the fault of another driver. All you can do is minimize your risk and have fun!

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justathought 6 years, 8 months ago

At least I've never seen a bike rider talking on a cell and reading a map while riding!

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cybergypsy 6 years, 8 months ago

What happened to the motorcycle safety class that used to be in Craig? When I took the class there in 2003, there was a long waiting list to get in. The State's Live to Ride program only addresses part of the problem with motorcycle fatalities. The other half is the drivers of the cars who are oblivious to bikers. At least bikers aren't sending text messages while riding. Maybe some of the $$ should be put into ads aimed at the drivers of cars, reminding them to be extra vigilant as more bikes are on the road now that the weather is better for riding. CDOT conveniently fails to mention the percentage of fatalities that were caused by bikers hit by cars who "never saw that motocycle" before they hit it.

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MtnWarlock 6 years, 8 months ago

cybergypsy, I don't think the Craig school was private. The endorsement was a certifiable and accepted by CDOT for license endorsement "M" for motorcycles. Your right about driver tentativeness and preoccupation behind the wheel! I ride and I can't tell you how many times I've been almost ran over by someone because of it! That's why I believe "LOUD PIPES SAVE LIVES! Believe me; it helps the situation as obnoxious as it is. I've been riding 35 years.

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Malcolm_Reynolds 6 years, 8 months ago

To enroll in the class. Call Bad Axe Custom Cycles after 11:00am @ 824-5009, Tue.-Sat. Ask for Jesse, he can set you up for classes. They are held at Ridgeview Elem. in Craig

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Ed Miklus 6 years, 8 months ago

Yep got to watch those cars. A pyschological study was done regarding drivers and bikers. The profile of a bike does not register in the minds of many drivers. I agree loud pipes and also some auxiliary lighting front and back. Watch those left hand turning motorists too.

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madmoores 6 years, 8 months ago

"Eighty-one percent of victims were either not wearing helmets or using helmets improperly."

I'm sorry, but does this stat not have any bearing on you riders. I don't even ride a bicycle without a helmet let alone something that can do over 100mph. Loud pipes save lives, sure but how about a helmet too, could save your life as well. I'm not a biker but I don't think drivers are as irresponsible(moving between lanes of slow moving vehicles on the freeways, threading the needle because they think they can because they are smaller than cars)and dangerous as some of the bikers I encounter. Don't lay all of your problems on the drivers, be a responsible biker and take on some of it yourself, and thanks to those that are. P.S., The helmet law needs reinstated, your a fool not to wear one.

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OnTheBusGus 6 years, 8 months ago

madmoores, If someone doesn't wear a helmet, they are plain stupid. Then Darwin just takes over at that point.

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MtnWarlock 6 years, 8 months ago

madmoores, You correct about helmets. I don't always wear one! If I die, who cares! My insurance policies are good and those left behind will be well taken care of. If it would happen that I'm left in a bed as a quad, I'll be euthanized! No burden to the medical industry. Helmet laws are controversial. The government likes to dictate safety, which should be a personal decision and could spark another blog on just that. A bicycle is a two wheeled vehicle! I've seem more inconsideration for traffic law by bicyclists, that any other on the road! That is another one we could blog all day on in Steamboat! Because they don't have an engine, we give them slack and immunity! I ride a bicycle too! However, you are right in saying; I'm a fool for riding without my helmet! BUT, it's my decision that has no effect on you...unless you hit me! Then it all gets messy anyway, helmet or not! It is my opinion, that in this country, we feel the need to let the government save us from ourselves, when the government has a hard enough time saving itself! I've been on many no helmet rides to the capital and I am a AMA member.

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justathought 6 years, 8 months ago

I agree with "we feel the need to let the government save us from ourselves, when the government has a hard enough time saving itself", just don't add me in that "we", I'd really rather take responsibility for my own decisions. I'd sure like to tell the government where to stick their seat belt law.

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madmoores 6 years, 8 months ago

I agree with all you guys and unfortunately the laws are usually made for those that have fewer brain cells than the rest of us. Ie: they just can't seem to use common sense and do what is right so their actions affect all of us...and then the lawmakers have to make laws to control those that can't control themselves. If you like to ride free of a helmet, more power to you and I support your decision, same for those that don't like wearing seatbelts...you're not hurting me one bit. However, the statistics prove time and time again that helmets and seat-belts save lives, and that those wearing them have a much greater chance of survival in an accident. As a young budding EMT we watched a movie called "Room to live". It was about the room sometimes left in a vehicle when involved in a crash, even as severe as a head on there is still room to live IF you are restrained and not tossed about or ejected. After watching that movie I belted myself in my car when I left and have belted in ever since...I did not wear a seatbelt up to that night and now I wear it down the block to the mailbox. The bike story is much the same, got in a wreck, hit my head pretty hard, had trouble for the next couple weeks focusing my eyes(and my brain), trouble hearing and headaches. Eventually it all went away and I'm fine now(except I keep waking up naked in the park for some reason(j/k))but ever since that time, I have worn a helmet when biking, I got lucky I think. I guess it all boils down to how much you value your life and by what means you will take to protect it. I value mine and so does my family, they need me...so it is up to me to take whatever precautions necessary to prolong my life so that I will be around for awhile to provide for those that need me the most(which means I wear my helmet, my seatbelt, hearing protection and safety glasses when mowing/sawing/constructing, etc..). Anyway, to each his/her own, that's one great thing left in life, choice. Sorry so long, thanks for listening.

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